Economic Stimulus - The Republican Filibuster

By a single vote, Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked an economic stimulus package that included an extension of unemployment benefits, and increased subsidies for home energy costs. "It is extremely disappointing that President Bush and most of the Senate Republicans are playing political games with our economy and the needs of the American people," Senator Bernie Sanders said after the vote. "This economic stimulus package provides a tax rebate not only to working families and their kids

By a single vote, Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked an economic stimulus package that included an extension of unemployment benefits, and increased subsidies for home energy costs. "It is extremely disappointing that President Bush and most of the Senate Republicans are playing political games with our economy and the needs of the American people," Senator Bernie Sanders said after the vote. "This economic stimulus package provides a tax rebate not only to working families and their kids, but to millions of seniors on Social Security and disabled veterans. It also increases funding for home heating assistance and other important programs. I hope very much that within the next few days we can get one more Republican to support this vitally important legislation so that we will be able to pass it."

Fifty-nine senators wanted to cut off debate on the bill. It takes 60 senators to invoke cloture. The official vote was 58 to 41. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid switched his vote at the last minute, which under Senate rules preserved the possibility of another shot at passing the package if one more supporter can be rounded up.

The $204 billion stimulus package would have added $1 billion to help the elderly and low-income people pay soaring home heating bills. It also would have helped 20 million additional seniors who have worked hard, paid taxes and continue to contribute to our economy; provide help for 250,000 disabled veterans also would have fared better under the Senate stimulus plan that would have helped 20 million additional seniors. provide help for 250,000 disabled veterans completely left out of the House-passed plan; extend unemployment insurance benefits another 13 weeks to help hurting families who will put cash into the economy even quicker; help families avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes, and aid struggling small businesses.

To listen to a Vermont Public Radio report on the stimulus package, click here.